Notes from the US

Freedom’s long-running US correspondent Louis Further does his monthly roundup of some of the lesser-known stories that have emerged over the last few weeks.
Election

It is a huge indictment of many of the 70 million of those who voted for Trump (almost half of all voters) that they continue to claim that the vote was unfair – because they won’t now be having four more years of his sadistic muppetry. It is perhaps a greater indictment that only handful of Republican senators, governors and congresspeople have voiced any kind of concern for – let alone repudiation of – Trump’s claim that the election was ‘stolen’, despite presenting no evidence to support their claims, and despite the fact that every one of the lawsuits brought by the Trump gang has failed – often not even been admitted to court by a system which is not known for being antipathetic to the establishment élite.

Voting officials, governors and at times some of those helpers and volunteers who have been involved in minor and routine ways with the count have received death threats and (physical) intimidation from the followers of the cult of Donald Trump. Some of those who have worked in the election process in the upper Mid West states this autumn have had to seek armed protection and/or go into hiding – again because they followed normal procedure in counting, certifying and announcing the results of the election which the cult leader and his followers can’t and won’t accept.

Some at senior levels in the cult are even taking it further: Joe diGenova, for example, is a lawyer for Trump’s still active ‘election’ campaign. In late November diGenova called for the death of former Trump advisor Chris Krebs because he stated that the result was secure, reliable and accurate… “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” Whether or not this is really hyperbole, not to be taken literally, or a ‘joke’ is beside the point.

Oppression

As well as insulting, belittling and sacking people with whom Trump disagrees or of whom he disapproves, Trump enjoys killing people as well: no fewer than five more executions are planned before the inauguration of Biden on 20 January. This breaks with a tradition nearly 130 years old which sees such murders by the state put on hold during transitions from one administration to the next. If all five convicted men are murdered as expected, Trump will become the USA’s most prolific presidential executioner in over a century. He has overseen the executions of 13 death row inmates just since July of this year.

The Fascist views of Trump and his allies have sponsored flirtation with eugenics. Perhaps coming as no surprise, at the end of last month a federal appeals court ruled that authorities in Tennessee can deny abortions to mothers whose babies have been prenatally diagnosed with Downs syndrome.

Environment

The United States is one of the world’s most prolific and destructive producers of plastic pollution. A recent report highlighted an increase in marine pollution from masks and an unusually large quantity of discarded medical equipment used during Covid-19. The United Nations is now moving forward slowly towards implementing a treaty which will stop plastics from flowing into the world’s seas and other natural habitats. One country, though, is not planning to sign this treaty: the United States.

Impeached, defeated, nearly ex-President Trump likes to destroy nature and wreck the environment. While media attention was focused on the extent to which many millions of hoaxers and deniers were ignoring, flouting and resisting efforts by public health officials to lessen the effects of the out-of-control spread of Covid-19 at the end of last month over the Thanksgiving holiday, the wrecker-in-chief took a bold and particularly destructive step to ensure the deaths of many millions of birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (or ‘MBTA’, in force since 1918) protects over a thousand avian species. Indeed, the Act is widely seen as saving the lives of millions of birds annually. The Natural Resources Defense Council, for instance, credits the Act and its regulatory powers with saving the snowy egret, wood duck, and sandhill crane from extinction. But an analysis was published on the day after Thanksgiving. Trump has now opened the way for ‘modifications’ to how the US Fish and Wildlife Service interprets the MBTA.

As Trump is rushing through as many rollbacks of beneficial environmental statutes and rules as he can before he leaves office, the plan is to ensure that between 500 million and a billion more birds will now die in the interests of promoting profit-driven industrial onslaught. Jamie Rappaport Clark from Defenders of Wildlife says, “At a time when North America has already lost three billion birds, the rule will further undercut our nation’s ability to conserve birds so many people care about deeply.”

Indigenous-led water protectors in Minnesota began a series of direct actions against the construction of Enbridge’s ‘Line 3’ pipeline earlier this month. The pipeline would carry more than 750,000 barrels of tar sands oil each day through fragile ecosystems; this would put lakes, rivers and wild rice beds under severe threat – not just from the mess and chaos of construction, but also the inevitable spills and leaks. The pipeline also violates treaties signed by the US in the 1850s and 1860s which forbade this kind of development. There is also alarm at the large numbers of workers from out of state who are being ‘drafted’ to work on the construction of the Line 3 pipeline.

Pandemic

Trump has lost all interest in saving lives in the US, if he ever had any. He prefers to play golf and rattle on about a rigged election. As many people are now dying each day in the United States as died in the attacks on 9/11; there are over 16 million cases in total. If anything, the deniers and hoaxers are becoming ‘bolder’ than ever. Former White House coronavirus task force member, neuroradiologist Scott Atlas, was only one of many Republicans (not to mention the fascist propaganda) who regularly incite the public to refuse to comply with lockdowns, stay-at-home and mask orders because they deprive people of their ‘liberty’. Before leaving his job, Atlas criticised Michigan’s new Covid-19 restrictions in a tweet almost as soon as they were announced. He urged people to “rise up” against the new public health measures… “The only way this stops is if people rise up… You get what you accept.”

Billionaires in the United States have done well out of the global pandemic, though: the nett worth of the country’s 643 billionaires increased by US$845 billion (or £3.5 billion a day) since March – a nearly 30% increase.

Happy Holidays!

Louis Further


Notes